Preparing Your Cabin for a Winter Visit

by Mikkie Mills

Whether your vacation cabin has been in the family for generations or is new-to-you, it’s important to treat it with the same care that you treat your home. Cabins, like homes, need upkeep. Because you’re not there all the time, you may not notice little problems until they have become big. If you’re planning on enjoying your cabin this holiday season, consider offering it a little pre-winter TLC.

Cold Weather Comfort

Cabins in the winter can provide an idyllic place to rest and recuperate from the busy world. To do this in comfort, spend a little time checking your winter appliances to make sure everything is in good working order. To avoid having to take an unexpectedly cold shower on a snowy day, let a water heater company in Fillmore or your town inspect or upgrade your water heater. Do the same for the cabin’s heating system even if it’s just a fireplace or wood-burning stove. Clean out the flue and double-check your supply of dry wood. If you keep an emergency generator, make sure you have enough gas to keep it running for several days.

Supply Stockpile

Along with enough wood to keep the fire going, make sure you have an emergency supply of food and water in case you get snowed in or roads get blocked due to a storm. Water storage is critical. There should be enough water on hand for each person to have at least one gallon per day. If this takes up too much room in your cabin, considering getting an outside rain barrel for storage. Check the expiration dates on canned and boxed foods. Be extremely careful about eating old home-canned foods. Most likely you will never need to dip into your emergency food, but it brings peace of mind knowing it’s there if you need it.

Safety Features

Just because it’s a vacation home doesn’t mean you should skimp on safety features such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. These items may even be more important as sometimes cooking on little-used appliances or using unfamiliar heating systems can lead to deadly mistakes. Keep charged fire extinguishers within easy reach of all heat sources. Install at least one carbon monoxide detector if you have any gas appliance. Check to make sure the smoke detectors are in good working order. Because you may be well off the beaten path, keep your first aid kit stocked and include a first aid manual. In the event of an emergency, EMS may be delayed due to your remoteness.

Taking care of the outside of your cabin is important too. After a big storm, inspect the roof for loose shingles that could fall off on a windy day or create leaks. Keep the driveway and road around your house as level as possible in case you need to drive out in a hurry.

Critter Cleanout

Nobody likes unannounced guests, and the kind with four feet and a tail are even worse. Before bringing friends and relatives to your cabin, hire a professional exterminator to visit and flush out any vermin. Mice are notoriously difficult to get rid of. It sometimes takes several months to eliminate them completely and to seal up all their points of entry. Mice can squeeze into the tiniest of holes and chew through almost anything. Unfortunately, they like comfy cabins as much as you do.

Depending on where your cabin is located, you might also have to deal with raccoons and the occasional bear. Investing upfront in bear-proof garbage cans and food containers is much better than watching a feisty black bear rip apart your garbage bag in front of your guests on Christmas Eve or an agile raccoon chew through the weather stripping on the window of your car to get to baked goods you left on your front seat.

Whether your cabin is by a lake, in the mountains or deep in a forest, it is sure to provide you and your guests days and days of memorable experiences communing with nature. Keep everyone and everything safe and sound and in good working order with a pre-vacation inspection.


Mikkie is a freelance writer from Chicago. She is a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on natural health cures and news, budgeting hacks, and favorite DIY projects. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing her little ones around or can be found rock climbing at her local climbing gym.


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